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Youth Projects

Volume 671: debated on Thursday 13 February 2020

The Government are committed to investing in young people’s futures, and alongside delivering the national citizen service, we announced a new £500 million youth investment fund from April this year, which will provide capital and revenue investment in youth services for the next five years. The £7 million youth accelerator fund, which was launched last month by the Secretary of State, will deliver extra sessions and youth clubs, alongside a range of positive activities in sport and culture for young people.

Local clubs are a great way to help young people participate in sport. In my Broxtowe constituency, Sarah Green, a parent volunteer, has worked tirelessly to renovate the Trent Vale community sports association clubhouse. Will the Minister join me in paying tribute to all community volunteers who support grassroots sport?

It gives me great pleasure to congratulate my hon. Friend’s constituents. There are 6.7 million volunteers in sport throughout the UK, which is an incredible number. We must recognise the people who give of their own time by volunteering specifically to help young people. Sport England is investing £15 million a year through its community asset fund between 2017 and 2021 to support communities just like my hon. Friend’s.

The Way Youth Zone provides young people in Wolverhampton with a variety of facilities and fantastic activities in the heart of the city. However, many young people in Wolverhampton are unable to access the Way Youth Zone, as they live too far away. What plans does my hon. Friend have to provide investment opportunities for replicating that successful youth inclusion model in other areas of Wolverhampton, such as Whitmore Reans?

My hon. Friend is right. Young people in Wolverhampton and elsewhere should have access to high-quality youth services such as the Way Youth Zone regardless of where they live—whether that is in a city, a village or a town, or on the coast. The youth investment fund to which I referred will enable the development and expansion of capital resources, including buildings and mobile facilities for harder-to-reach areas, alongside investment for positive activities across the country.

With youth services having been slashed by 73% since 2010 under savage local government cuts, and given that a peer gets more for turning up for one day than an under-25 year old has to live on for a month under universal credit, when they are already suffering from job and housing insecurity, when will Ministers admit that, under this Government, youth have never had it so bad?

It is always a pleasure to listen to the hon. Member’s questions, which are usually positive and upbeat, as we have seen this morning. I would just remind her—politely and gently—of what I said in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Darren Henry). We have announced a £500 million youth investment fund, which starts this year. We also have the £7 million accelerator fund. I am not going to use her words about having it so bad; I think she should recognise and reflect on the fact that the sums being invested in youth services are huge.